At some events there may be a mixed audience consisting of both health professionals and lay people. Many pharmaceutical companies – and indeed patient organisations – worry about what can be shared when patients are present – whether in real life, or virtually.
The principle on sharing information with the general public still stands: promotion of prescription-only medicines is not permitted. That means that promotional presentations or other material suitable for health professionals would not be appropriate for patients to see. Clause 26.2 of the ABPI Code, and associated supplementary information, provides detail on information that can be shared with the public.
When planning ahead, think carefully about room layout and access, structure of the agenda, timing of Q&As or closing remarks, and how to signpost clearly in advance which sessions are suitable for which audiences; with webinars or other online events, descriptive language and passwords will help to make this distinction. If it’s an independent congress, provide feedback on the format ahead of time.
Aim for a shared, joint solution that respects the interests of all parties as well as the need for good compliance. This also means considering inclusion requirements, as far as reasonably possible, and providing a named person for patients or members of the public to liaise with before and during the event, especially if they have additional needs.